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The world’s largest passenger plane touches down at Africa’s biggest and busiest airport
Thursday, February 18, 2010 | 00:00

The world’s largest passenger plane touches down at Africa’s biggest and busiest airport
At exactly 11h06 today, 18 February 2010, Air France-KLM’s A380 aircraft (flight number AF995), the world’s largest civil passenger aircraft, landed at O.R. Tambo International Airport, Airports Company South Africa’s flagship airport and the biggest and busiest in Africa. This is the second time the A380 has landed at O.R. Tambo International Airport. The first time was in November 2006, when its manufacturer, Airbus Industries, successfully conducted proving tests. Air France-KLM is the first airline to use the aircraft at O.R. Tambo International Airport.
“I still recall the spectacular landing of this mammoth airplane in 2006 for the test flight. Today’s touch-down was equally magnificent. Congratulations to Air France-KLM and to everyone involved in making this possible. The aircraft will become a regular feature in our operations at the airport and I am confident that we will be able to handle it without any hassles,” said Solomon Makgale, ACSA’s Group Manager: Communications.
As part of upgrading the airport, Airports Company South Africa invested more than R200 million to make the airport compliant with new, large-aircraft requirements by doing shoulder and taxiways upgrades, developing new aprons, longer baggage belts, and larger passenger holding and boarding gates.
Depending on the configuration, the A380 can carry 30 per cent more passengers when compared to a Boeing 747 aircraft. To manage the additional passengers, we have four contact stands with dual air bridges to load and offload passengers from the double-decker aircraft, with two remote stands, two 90-metre baggage carousels that will take more baggage and reduce passengers' waiting time. The upgrade of the runway led to its width being increased from 60 metres to 75 metres and the taxiway widths from 30 metres to 60 metres.
The A380 will result in efficient use of our infrastructure, particularly during busy periods such as the upcoming 2010 World Cup and December holidays, as fewer aircraft can be used to carry more passengers. Being able to accommodate the A380 is yet another demonstration of our readiness for the prestigious 2010 FIFA World Cup,” Makgale concluded.

For enquiries, contact Solomon Makgale on 082 781 8863 or via email Solomon.makgale@airports.co.za 

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